WordPress News

History of WordPress Plugins

A Short History of the WordPress Plugin

By Adam Warner

WordPress plugins allow users to completely customize their website features and experience for visitors, and  also serve as a mainstay of the WordPress experience. It’s safe to say that without them, WordPress wouldn’t have grown to power over 28% of the internet. But did you know that WordPress used to exist without plugins? In this post, I’ll give you a short history of when and why plugins came to be and what the future holds for WordPress because of them.

Tags:   WordPress blog, WordPress security blog, WordCamps, WordPress news, WordPress hacks
Categories:  WordPress Benefits
WordCamp Portland 2017 Recap

WordCamp Portland 2017 – Not Weird at All

By Adam Warner

The SiteLock team recently traveled to Oregon for WordCamp Portland where we had a sponsor table and met  many (if not most) of the attendees. It was a busy camp morning for me because I also presented a session titled “5 Steps to Personal and Website Security“. I’m happy to report that my session was received very well among the WordCampers.

The Sponsor Experience

First and foremost, I want to give a shout-out to the #WCPDX organizers. They did an excellent job ensuring the sponsor tables were placed in a room that received steady traffic. The tables were set up between the session rooms, also conveniently located next to the coffee, water, and other refreshments.

The Talks

As with most WordCamps, the session topics were relevant to all types of WordPress users, and the session times were 35 minutes, plus 10 minutes at the end for Q&A. However, there were also lightning talks of 10-15 minutes, which were informative and entertaining.

Ethan Clevenger’s lightning talk discussed how to succeed as a freelancer, and in particular, the reasoning behind raising your prices and how to avoid the fear of making less money. Not only did his talk give valid advice on increasing your revenue while reducing your need to “constantly chase new clients,” but Ethan was also pretty hilarious in the delivery of his content.

In Praise of the Side Project: Learn New Skills, Make Money, and Have Fun.

Rachel Cherry is a Senior Software Engineer at The Walt Disney Company and delivered a unique and inspiring talk to those in attendance. She showed proof that side projects can lead to bigger things like Apple, Twitter, and even Gmail. The point she made though, was that they don’t always have to, sometimes side projects can simply be for testing the waters. This could include learning a new software package, drafting a blog about your favorite food to improve your writing skills, or building websites to razz your friends (#hiroy). Judging by the comments after, her talk made those in attendance feel at ease and less worried about their half-done projects.

Automating Your Workflow

Andrew Taylor’s talk about automation was great. Specifically, automating as much of your daily workflow as possible in order to put processes in place that you can rely on. This also allows you to be more productive. Even though it was a lightning talk, he packed in both the philosophy behind continuous integration and some actual methods he uses in his day-to-day routine.

Don’t Waste Your Content: Repurpose and Keep It Alive

Bob Dunn, more commonly known as BobWP online, delivered a great talk on why and how to repurpose any content you’ve created. He’s been blogging for ten years and produces three successful podcasts. How does he do it? You guessed it, repurposing content in order to save time and meet the needs of his different audiences.

A Little Fun and Frustration with Our Raffle

We always try to do something a little special at WordCamps, in addition to giving out webcam covers and t-shirts. In Portland, we raffled off an Amazon gift card, which was a fun experience. When reading the winning ticket numbers, we had to go through A LOT of them before we finally had a winner. It actually turned out to be pretty entertaining and helped build anticipation.

By all accounts, WordCamp Portland was a great event and one I know we’ll be back to next year. If you weren’t able to attend and you’d like to know more about SiteLock, I encourage you to read more about our company and products, like malware scanning and auto-removal, as well as our web application firewall options.

See you next year!

Tags:   WordPress blog, WordPress security blog, WordCamps, WordPress news, WordPress hacks
Categories:  WordCamp
Case study-Hyannis whale watchers

How SiteLock Saved a Whale Watchers Website [Case Study]

By SiteLock

Company Overview

Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises is dedicated to providing ‘Cape Cod’s Finest Whale Watching!’ Established in 1989, the company brings more than thirty years of experience to whale watching, with an impressive sighting rate of 99 percent. As the company’s popularity grew, its website was forced to expand from an initial online brochure to a comprehensive resource including whale watching information, trip scheduling and online ticket purchasing. These changes also greatly increased customer reach both nationally and internationally.

Tags:   WordPress blog, WordPress security blog, WordCamps, WordPress news, WordPress hacks
Categories:  SiteLock Reviews, WordPress security
threat intercept

Threat Intercept: SiteLock Discovers XSS Vulnerability in WooCommerce Extension

By Ramuel Gall
This article was co-authored by Product Evangelist Logan Kipp.

THREAT SUMMARY

Low Threat
WordPress Website Security Threat Level
Learn More

Category: XSS – Reflected

Trend Identified: 7/25/2017

CVE ID: N/A

Threat Name: N/A

Vector: Browser/Javascript

The threat rating was determined using the following metrics:

Complexity:

MEDIUM: While initial exploitation is low complexity, weaponization requires action from the victim.

Confidentiality Impact:

MEDIUM: Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could potentially hijack individual browser sessions.

Integrity Impact:

MEDIUM: Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could potentially hijack individual browser sessions.

What is it?

SiteLock recently found a reflected cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the WooCommerce “Product Vendors” plugin for WordPress. Reflected XSS vulnerabilities differ from persistent XSS in that each attack is completed in the duration of a single session, rather than permanently modifying the impact site. According to the Open Web Application Security Project (http://www.owasp.org):

The variety of attacks based on XSS is almost limitless, but they commonly include transmitting private data, like cookies or other session information, to the attacker, redirecting the victim to web content controlled by the attacker, or performing other malicious operations on the user’s machine under the guise of the vulnerable site.

 

Who is impacted?

Websites running the WooCommerce “Product Vendors” plugin versions 2.0.35 and older are vulnerable to this exploit. Fortunately, Automattic (WooCommerce’s parent company) patched the vulnerability almost immediately after being contacted by SiteLock. Unfortunately, many site owners do not update their plugins frequently, or at all. If you use Product Vendors for WooCommerce, make sure that you are running the most recent version (v2.0.38 at the time of writing).

 

How was it found?

Our automated scanner alerted us to an XSS vulnerability on a customer’s website, which we determined was due to the WooCommerce “Product Vendors” plugin. What was unusual in this case is that the vulnerable plugin was, at the time, the most recent version, so no patches were yet available for the vulnerability. We immediately contacted Automattic concerning our findings in following our Responsible Disclosure Policy, provided all relevant information on the vulnerability, and coordinated this disclosure.

 

Remediation Steps

The simplest way to fix this vulnerability is to update the plugin to the newest version, which was patched less than a week after the vulnerability was reported. Fortunately for SiteLock TrueShield customers, emergency policy updates were pushed to protect against this vulnerability as soon as it was discovered. However, we still recommend updating WooCommerce Product Vendors to the latest version.

 

Technical details

Overview

WooCommerce Product Vendors is a WordPress plugin which allows eCommerce sites to create a marketplace with multiple vendors, taking commissions from each vendor’s sales. The XSS vulnerability was found in the Vendor Signup form, which can be placed anywhere on the site.

 

Cause

This version of the plugin has a reflected XSS vulnerability because the $_POST parameter for vendor_description, which allows vendors to insert a description of their company, is not properly escaped, allowing arbitrary JavaScript to be executed in a visitor’s browser.

 

Reproduction Steps

In this case, the issue was reproduced using the below cURL request, and verified when the output showed the unaltered script.

Exploitability

$_POST parameter XSS vulnerabilities are often underestimated because it’s not possible to exploit them by directly sending a victim to the vulnerable URL. This difficulty is easily circumvented by first directing the victim to an attacker-controlled form that uses JavaScript to submit itself. As $_POST parameters are not directly visible in the URL, this also hides any suspicious parameters that would appear in a $_GET exploit. Additionally, as $_POST requests do not have the same character limit as $_GET requests, a larger payload can be delivered.

Note: It is also possible to craft a data:// URL that includes a self-submitting form, negating the need for the attacker to control another site. However, many browsers impose a length limit on data URLs, and data URLs are unusual enough to elicit suspicion in a potential victim.

 

Impact

As with all reflected XSS vulnerabilities, the impact depends on the ingenuity of the attacker. Reflected XSS allows an attacker to take control of the victim’s browser for as long as the tab is open on the vulnerable site, and victims are far more likely to leave a tab open on a site that appears to be legitimate. Stealing credentials, hijacking sessions, or exfiltrating payment information entered on the vulnerable site may also be possible, depending on the site’s configuration and the security measures in place.

 

Remediation

If updating to the latest version is not possible, this vulnerability can also be patched by escaping the $_POST[‘vendor_description’] parameter on line 61 of wp-content/plugins/woocommerce-product-vendors/templates/shortcode-registration-form.php using the esc_attr() WordPress function.

 

Tags:   WordPress blog, WordPress security blog, WordCamps, WordPress news, WordPress hacks
Categories:  WordPress security
WordCamp Denver 2017

WordCamp Denver 2017 – WordPress Knowledge Stacked a Mile High

By Adam Warner

Last week we found ourselves in Denver, CO for another amazing WordCamp. We sponsored the event as part of our global sponsorship program, which also included table space that gave us ample opportunity to meet existing SiteLock customers and explain our website security services to those new to the WordPress community.

Tags:   WordPress blog, WordPress security blog, WordCamps, WordPress news, WordPress hacks
Categories:  WordCamp
WordPress User Roles

What Kind of WordPress Are You?

By Adam Warner

The WordPress software has come a long way since its humble beginning in 2003. I can’t imagine that Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little had any idea how much their fork of the b2 cafelog blogging platform would grow, let alone establish a worldwide community of users.

I consider myself lucky to have found WordPress in early 2005, just over a year after its creation. In the almost twelve years since that time, I’ve held  many different WordPress titles and have transformed the way I’ve used it. There are different meanings of the word “users” when it comes to WordPress, and in this post I’m going to discuss some of those definitions.

Tags:   WordPress blog, WordPress security blog, WordCamps, WordPress news, WordPress hacks
Categories:  WordPress Benefits
WordPress Help

5 Best Places to Find WordPress Help

By Adam Warner

Whether you’ve just started using WordPress or have been an avid user for years, it’s likely that you regularly come up with specific questions on how to fix or improve your website or blog. In this post, I’ll detail my top five favorite sources for finding WordPress help.

Tags:   WordPress blog, WordPress security blog, WordCamps, WordPress news, WordPress hacks
Categories:  WordPress Benefits
WordCamp Minneapolis 2017

WordCamp Minneapolis / St. Paul 2017 – Double the Fun

By Adam Warner

I’ve just returned from WordCamp Minneapolis / St. Paul, and what a camp it was! This year’s event was held at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and Hanson Hall buildings at the University of Minnesota West Bank.

An impressive 450 attendees descended on the Twin Cities to learn and share all things WordPress. If you look close at the image below, you’ll see two planes in addition to the one I was on, all landing in Minneapolis. I’d like to think there were some other excited WordCampers coming in at the same time as my own flight.

SiteLock was among the 450 attendees, and we also  sponsored the event. We were there in full force with copious amounts of swag and a $200 Amazon gift card for our raffle.

Tags:   WordPress blog, WordPress security blog, WordCamps, WordPress news, WordPress hacks
Categories:  WordCamp
WordCamp Boston 2017

WordCamp Boston 2017 – WordPress Strong

By Adam Warner

SiteLock sponsored and attended WordCamp Boston 2017 this past weekend. It was our second year in attendance, and as expected, it was a great event! In this post, we share some of our experiences from the event, including a slight hiccup and how we overcame it.

Tags:   WordPress blog, WordPress security blog, WordCamps, WordPress news, WordPress hacks
Categories:  WordCamp
WordPress Mental Health

The State of Mental Health Awareness in the WordPress Community

By Adam Warner

Mental health awareness initiatives have increased in the WordPress community, and in the tech community as a whole, in recent years. This has been welcomed by many, especially since 2007 when the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) surveyed adults in 37 States about their attitudes toward mental illness and found that:

Tags:   WordPress blog, WordPress security blog, WordCamps, WordPress news, WordPress hacks
Categories:  Community